The fallen madonna and the great Gatsby

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As wardrobe malfunctions go, it was pretty spectacular.

Madonna, after her performance at the Brit Awards on Wednesday night is now being referred to quite cleverly, as ‘The Fallen Madonna’ – and how come all I can think of is an episode of the late lamented BBC sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo in which Renée Artois tries his best to hide a painting?

The singer took quite a tumble as her cloak, which was meant to be ripped off her by her assorted dancers, didn’t unclip, pulling Madonna backwards off the stage as well. She was sent tumbling down steps to a crash landing below. Madonna later said her cape had been tied too tightly but that she was fine after her fall

Fair play to her. As one of my students cruelly remarked out the next day, “She’s in her fifties – that’s the age of my granny!”

You can imagine this didn’t make me feel any better, being a woman just into my fifties myself, albeit younger than Madonna, who’s a very fit 56 years old indeed. That may be ancient to anybody under the age of 20 but the diva is still rockin’ the house and living up to the image she’s worked hard to create over three decades and like a true professional, she got back up on to her high heels and carried on with the show.

She should take comfort from Ginger Rogers who’s reported to have said she did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels!

The students of Youth Lyric will keep that wisdom in mind next week when they take to the stage of the Waterfront, bringing the decadent days of the 1920s to life in The Great Gatsby, an all­-singing, all-­dancing production, directed by Sheelagh O’Kane.

Flapper dresses and long beads for the girls, spats shoes and suits for the boys, cocktails and the Charleston for everyone – this production is glamorous and exciting as I found out when I popped in to see rehearsals last weekend.

Now I’ve written before in these pages about the confidence the young people gain fromtheir time in Youth Lyric and this was illustrated brilliantly in a story that was relayed to me about a recent chance meeting one of the students had with two of the most famous British actors of stage and screen today.

Charlie Bedi, who’s 17 and playing the role of Jay Gatsby in this production, was on a trip with Youth Lyric in Stratford-­on-­Avon just at the end of last summer. The students had watched a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company and were exploring the grounds of the theatre when an eagle-eyed Charlie spotted Sir Ian McKellen walking with his friend and colleague Richard Wilson.

Sir Ian of course is famous to a younger generation for his role as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

With all that confidence built up from years of treading the boards with Youth Lyric himself, young Charlie seized the opportunity to speak to the two actors. He introduced himself and reports that they were both very friendly, inquiring as to why he was in Stratford.

Charlie, of course, plugged his own acting achievements and was rewarded with a photograph. Could that smile be any broader, do you think?

Youth Lyric presents The Great Gatsby at Belfast Waterfront from March 4 - 7, nightly at 8pm with a Saturday matinee.